George: Corbett Budget Proposal Hurts Working Families, Helps Big Business

State Rep. Camille "Bud" George (GantDaily File Photo)

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, urged Gov. Tom Corbett to reconsider some of the crippling measures outlined in the Governor’s first budget address.

“Governor Corbett’s proposed budget casts a dark shadow over the heads of the middle class,” George said.  “He said today would be the ‘Day of Reckoning,’ for Pennsylvania.  He’s right – unless you happen to be a big business with deep pockets.”

The proposed budget offers an array of cuts in education, government services, and programs that benefit middle class citizens,” George said.  “Compounding the program cuts are tax breaks for big businesses, continued phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax, and an adamant opposition to an extraction tax on Marcellus shale gas drillers.

“The Governor claims this is a ‘no new tax’ budget.  What he fails to explain is that the tax burden is being shifted to local governments,” George said.  “When school districts lose $550 million in state funding, where do you think the money will come from?”

The answer, George says, will be increased local property taxes to help balance school budgets. 

“Corbett’s proposing a near 10 percent cut in school subsidies, which will eliminate almost $8 million from districts serving Clearfield County students,” George said.  “For Clearfield Area School District, this means a $1.2 million decrease in funding, $1.1 million yanked from Philipsburg-Osceola, and over $750,000 from Curwensville School District.”

Coupled with cuts in K-12 education are significant funding decreases for state-owned or affiliated colleges and universities, including Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as cuts to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

“Between tuition increases and less grant money available, families are going to be paying a lot more to send their kids to college,” George said.

Also taking hits in the Governor’s proposed budget are the state Departments of Public Welfare and Community and Economic Development.

“We’re going to see a significant burden placed on those who truly need assistance,” George said.  “Programs being cut or eliminated will only hurt those who need the help the most.”

The governor also called for ‘essential pruning’ of state programs. 

“I will remind him that some things in Pennsylvania are worthy of investment, especially jobs, jobs and more jobs.  Small businesses are the backbone of the economy.  Programs in place to help citizens start up these small enterprises are necessary to help people achieve the ‘American Dream.’”

George also stressed the need for an extraction tax on Marcellus shale gas drilling.

“Much as the oil industry is linked to Texas, Governor Corbett wants Pennsylvania to be the nation’s centerpiece for natural gas,” Rp. George said. “However, without a responsible, competitive severance tax, our local governments are going to be paying for the costs linked to this under-regulated industry for decades to come.”

ep. George added that despite the Governor’s refusal to tax Marcellus shale gas producers, a majority of Pennsylvanians favor doing so.  What people will not accept, he says, will be the cuts in services and programs that will cripple working families in the state.

“This budget was not a surprise – the Governor warned us early on about his views,” George said. “I only worry that people have not yet realized the ramifications and consequences of the proposed cuts.”

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6 thoughts on “George: Corbett Budget Proposal Hurts Working Families, Helps Big Business

  1. Dieselrider

    George said. “When school districts lose $550 million in state funding, where do you think the money will come from?”

    Where does rep George think that money comes from in the first place?

    George says, “I will remind him (Governor) that some things in Pennsylvania are worthy of investment, especially jobs, jobs and more jobs. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Programs in place to help citizens start up these small enterprises are necessary to help people achieve the ‘American Dream.’”

    The Marcellus shale gas drillers are hiring a lot of local people, including such small businesses as hotels, welders trucking firms, etc in their operations. Just because Mr George can’t get his hands on the money doesn’t mean the money isn’t coming into the area to help local economies.

    George said. “However, without a responsible, competitive severance tax, our local governments are going to be paying for the costs linked to this under-regulated industry for decades to come.”

    Mr George is a typical “Life long politician” who doesn’t live in the real world of working people and has never met a tax he doesn’t like. The trouble with taxes is they never get to where they are supposed to go. The government that fights so hard to get the tax established, finds so many other ways to spend the money before it ever gets to the job it was intended for. Case in point. Take social security, that huge retirement plan put in place so all Americans could retire. Just how much surplus is in that account now? Oh, gee there isn’t any surplus because politicians found other ways to spend the money rather then use it for it’s intended use. You will never get any better deal by handing money to the government then leaving it in the hands of private industry or private individuals as the government is nothing more then a leach that never gets full and is always looking for more ways to suck.

    The fact is that Marcellus shale drillers are bringing money into the local economies in many ways and it is getting spent in the communities where the drilling is taking place. The only real problem Mr. George is having with that is that he himself doesn’t have any control over how it is being spent. Shouldn’t the state be happy with the royalties they could be getting with drilling on State ground? Let me also ask why the drilling done on private ground should be taxed? That gas isn’t owned by the State or the public in most cases but by private citizens on private ground. Let the state spend the public money from public owned property on public projects.

    • bankman26

      You said, “Shouldn’t the state be happy with the royalties they could be getting with drilling on State ground?”

      Yes, I think we should be happy with them, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take advantage of the fact that there is drilling going on other places in the state. For the state of PA not to get a chunk of that action is ridiculous.

      Next you said, “Let me also ask why the drilling done on private ground should be taxed? That gas isn’t owned by the State or the public in most cases but by private citizens on private ground.”

      This is a great idea, but why does sales tax get applied to an automobile you already own and wish to sell? Why do you pay estate taxes when you get an inheritence? Your friends or relatives already owned whatever they’ve left you. These are both issues where things that are privately owned are being taxed. Why not Marcellous? We are the only state out of some 23 who are not taxing the drilling. Maybe we could pay off our state deficit instead of slashing the budget.

      Finally, you said, “The only real problem Mr. George is having with that is that he himself doesn’t have any control over how it is being spent.” Perhaps maybe if there was a little more local control we might be able to keep our middle class. Bud George gets a massive amount of respect from my friends and family. Any time one of his constituants has an issue he does his best to resolve it. I know personally that I have contacted him a couple of times regarding a variety of issues. He and his staff are always swift to act and usually get the job done. He goes to bat for us. We’re lucky to have him.

      • Dieselrider

        Cling to your socialism all you want. It doesn’t work and never has and never will. You cannot spend your way out of poverty or borrow your way out of debt. There comes a time when the government comes to the end of spend easy ideology and starts to live within it’s means just like everyone else. 35% of all Americans are receiving some form of Government welfare. Perhaps we should all just quit working and apply for “free money”.

        The state budget must be down sized and programs cut. You cannot just expect everything to be handed to you and neither should everyone else.

        • bankman26

          What are you talking about??? I never made any reference to spending or borrowing any money in any way…

          I agree that there are some programs that need to be cut. I too am outraged that “Welfare” has become a lifestyle in our state and country.

          My point is simple…Governor Corbett is making some poor choices.

          Cutting the education budget is going to be disastrous. I’m not implying that we spend more on education than is needed, but I think our kids are an important and vital part of the future of our country. To take money away from them or to force them to pay more for higher education is not wise.

          Also, he is claiming a “tax free” budget. This is totally smoke and mirrors. Sure, there are no new state taxes, but where does he think the school districts will make up their shortfalls? He is dumping his tax responsibilities into the laps of the local government and then waving his hands around like a magician. Local governments will be forced to raise taxes and Governor Corbett will be saying, “It’s not me.” But, indirectly it is him.

          He could have avoided all of this nonsense by taxing the Marcellus drilling. He would not need to spend or borrow any money or create any new debt of any kind. There may be enough money made from the taxing of the Marcellus industry that PA might end up in the black again. So why not do it? The problem is simply that he would have to stick his hands into the pockets of the same people who donated to his campaign. He’s not going to do that.

          The rich get richer and the rest of us get squeezed. Hey it’s the new American way…

          • Dieselrider

            How is it that cutting the education budget paid for by the state taking education away from the kids? That money comes from the tax payers whether it is from the State pool or the local pool. Any time the money comes from the state, everyone local seems to think they are not the ones footing the bill. What a bunch of B.S.

            As to cutting the budget to Penn State and other colleges, why should the tax payer be helping to foot the bill for college students? Take a look at the many millions of dollars made by Penn State on each home game. Put that money toward education. Eliminate the free rides for the athletes. Never should it be up to the tax payer to fund higher education. I can see where the government might help fund research but never tuition.

            I do not believe for one minute that government needs more tax dollars but better management of the money and that is something government has a very poor record of to this point.

        • provoking1

          Dieselrider,

          Today I watched a DVD I got last year at the Du Bois Chamber I-*0 tolling symposium titled “Alternatives to Funding Transportation in Pennsylvania.”
          In it they discussed the “need” for Act 44 and additional transportation funding to rebuild our infrastructure.

          To draw a parallel to what you said about Social Security and other taxes, not once did they mention that over 500 million a year comes out of the transportation budget to pay for the state police. ( The state police budget is not in the regular state budget.) So is it that we don’t collect enough to maintain our highway infrastructure or is it a smoke and mirrors game with the state budget of what the real cost is?

          Locally, how do funding cuts hurt the kids? Put another way, what percent of the school budget is salary and salary related expenses? Administative costs? Is our school enrollment increasing or declining? Have we made smart choices on the number of schools we have? Is the real issue that we are too fat and have too high of an overhead? In business, when that is the case, you analysis your need and adjust.

          Am I defending the budget line by line? No. But it had to start somewhere to decrease to match income. We have to ask the serious question- how much government can we afford?

          Your point that money from the state and feds is just our money redistributed is a valid point. Money that comes from them also comes with strings attached, many times requiring that we must spend money to qualify for their funding (unfunded mandates).

          Higher Education costs have gotten out of control and how much is because they are being funded by the state and feds (us)? Seems the more they get the more tuition costs go up. Not to mention the healthy endowment funds the schools have.

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